Driver who fled traffic stop was prostituting a 16-year-old girl, cops say
TRENTON — A police stop led to the arrest of a man on charges he was prostituting a 16-year-old girl, state authorities say
Ronald D. Harris, 40, of Trenton tried to flee police with his SUV at speeds of 80 mph instead of stopping on July 21, hitting an unmarked police vehicle and running a red light before slamming into a taxi, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal's office said.
A duffel bag Harris was carrying had three handguns, two of which had illegal large-capacity magazines, according to the AG's office. Harris was charged with possession of a weapon as a convicted felon and numerous other weapons offenses. He also was charged with eluding, resisting arrest by flight and various traffic violations.
A 16-year-old girl in the car had been reported missing and was a victim of ongoing commercial sexual exploitation, according to Grewal. During the investigation the girl told investigators that Harris was promoting her as a prostitute and she was to "work" the night of Harris' arrest, the AG's office said.
A search of a phone found in the car revealed messages that Harris was demanding additional money for specific sexual services, which the girl was to provide to various men, the AG's office said.
Harris was arrested on Nov. 19 at his home on additional charges of first-degree human trafficking, promoting prostitution of a minor and promoting organized street crime and second degree facilitating human trafficking.
"Far too often we uncover this tragic form of human trafficking, where a vulnerable underage girl is trapped in commercial sexual exploitation involving multiple men per day so that a trafficker can ruthlessly reap the profits," Grewal said in the statement from his office. "We will continue to work tirelessly with our law enforcement partners at all levels, as well as victim advocates, to raise awareness about human trafficking, rescue victims, and bring those responsible for these terrible crimes to justice."
Grewal said anyone who suspects human trafficking can report it by calling the Division of Criminal Justice’s Human Trafficking Hotline 1-855-END-NJ-HT. (855-363-6548).